Simulating Relativistic Laser Matter Interactions
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With recent advances in laser technology we have seen laser intensities reach the order of 10^22 W/cm2, with higher intensities anticipated in the near future. This thesis concerns a classical approach to the simulation of laser matter interactions for intensities above the relativistic threshold of 10^18 W/cm2. A pulsed plane wave model is used to simulate the laser fields. In particular this thesis aims to determine the effect of radiation reaction on relativistic interactions as well as proposing an effective method of vacuum laser acceleration from rest. We consider the equations of motion accounting for radiative effects and present their analytic plane wave solution. A novel numerical scheme to solve the equations of motion for arbitrary field configurations is presented. The method is manifestly covariant and exact for constant fields. Radiative reaction effects are explored using the numerical method and we find that the electron gains energy from the radiation field produced by its acceleration. Methods of vacuum laser acceleration are studied and we predict a significant acceleration using two co-propagating lasers where the frequency of the two lasers differ significantly. We also look at analytic and numerical solutions of the radiation spectrum, observing an increase in oscillations in the spectrum for larger intensities. We see more photons radiated when we include radiative terms in our calculations.
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